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What Is HTTP/3 – Lowdown on the Fast New UDP-Based Protocol

  • Category : General
  • Posted on : Apr 24, 2019
  • Views : 2,561
  • By : Zane P.


In November 2018, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) met in Bangkok, and a new Internet Draft was adopted. The QUIC transport protocol, an HTTP/2successor, was renamed to HTTP/3. HTTP/3 builds on UDP, and is already being used by prominent internet companies such as Google and Facebook. If you’re using Chrome and connecting to a Google service, you’re probably already using QUIC.

The new version of the HTTP protocol benefits from the bare-metal, low-level UDP protocol, and defines many of the new features which were in previous versions of HTTP at the TCP layer. This provides a way of solving constraints within the existing internet infrastructure.

The first results are promising, and when the Internet Draft by IETF expires, in June 2019, we can expect HTTP/3 to be promoted as a new, third generation HTTP standard.

  • HTTP/3 Is Coming
  • What is HTTP/3 – In Layman’s Terms
  • A Bit of Background – It Started with HTTP/2
  • Internet Protocol (IP)
  • Understanding the Role of TCP and UDP
  • QUIC and HTTP/3

HTTP/3 Is Coming

Some say that the web industry’s hunger for more speed and lower latency is only matched by Google Chrome’s hunger for more RAM.

In 2016, we published an article about HTTP/2, a standard that, according to W3Techs, currently has around a 34% world adoption rate. And according to Can I use, it’s also supported by all modern web browsers. Yet here we are, writing an article about the next version of the protocol, HTTP/3.

HTTP/3 is, at the time of this writing, an IETF Internet-Draft or ID, which means that it is currently under consideration for an upcoming internet standard by the Internet Engineering Task Force – an international internet standards body, in charge of defining and promoting agreed upon internet protocol standards, such as TCP, IPv6, VoIP, Internet of Things, etc.

It is an open body which unites the web industry and facilitates discussion about the direction of the internet.

Currently, the ID phase of HTTP/3 is the last phase before proposals are promoted to the level of RFC-s, or Request-for-Comments, which we can consider, for all intents and purposes, official internet protocol definitions. Then are then implemented by all major internet players.

This means that HTTP/3 is to become an official standard once the draft expires later this year (June 2019).

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